‘E.T.’ vs. ‘WALL-E’? ‘Blade Runner’ vs. ‘Dark Knight’

July 18, 2008 | 1:14 p.m.

Without a doubt, this is the biggest summer in the history of genre-films, but is it also the best ever?Batman300_k426xhnc

The reviews of "The Dark Knight" are fantastic and kudos to Christopher Nolan for bringing the world such a darkly compelling and unforgettable film.

"Dark Knight" is the new peak of a summer that brought the gentle sci-fi masterpiece “Wall-E,” the witty and rollicking “Iron Man” and Guillermo del Toro’s latest dispatch from magical realms, "Hellboy II." "Wanted" and "Hancock" took the antihero genre into very different places and stirred considerable debate among critics.This is also the summer that brought back Indiana Jones and (next month) Anakin Skywalker, as well as a revamped Hulk and a revived "X-Files." There was a new, grimmer "Narnia" film and the latest from M. Night Shyamalan, who seems a million years removed way from "The Sixth Sense" these days.

But the best summer ever?

For debate’s sake, take a look at the amazing barrage of films released in 1982, just between May 14 and June 25:

“Blade Runner” The best science fiction movie ever. If you don’t like this movie, I don’t trust you.


“E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” It’s sweeter and smarter than you remember. Is “Wall-E” better? I’d say no.

“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” J.J. Abrams will pay homage to the Kobayashi Maru in next year’s "Trek" reboot.

“John Carpenter’s The Thing” Roger Ebert called it “a great barf-bag movie.” And he liked it.

“Poltergeist” This was Heather O’Rourke’s sixth sense.

“Conan the Barbarian” What is best in life? "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of the women."

Update: "Mad Max 2" Thanks to the readers that pointed out that this George Miller film was also released in America in May of 1982. It came out in its native Australia in 1981 and that’s the date by which it is indexed on IMDB so I missed this when I was scanning 1982 films. It’s a classic, of course, and a template for a whole generation of post-apocalyptic films.

Update: "Tron" Anthony Nihilistic (a cheery fellow, I’m guessing) writes in to point out that this brilliant Disney film also came out in the summer of 1982. "That easily tips the scales in favor of 1982," he wrote. 

— Geoff Boucher

Photo:  Warner Bros. / The Blade Runner Partnership

Update: I made a bad blunder in an earlier version of this post and said that Drew Barrymore was in "Poltergiest," I guess I had "E.T." on the mind while typing. Thanks to the pople that pointed it out.    

More in: Uncategorized, Batman, Blade Runner, Star Trek, The Dark Knight


13 Responses to ‘E.T.’ vs. ‘WALL-E’? ‘Blade Runner’ vs. ‘Dark Knight’

  1. Bob says:

    Geoff Boucher you're incompetent. Drew Barrymore was not in Poltergeist. How do you have this job?

  2. David says:

    Not to be petty… (alright, this is petty, but still)… I don't think you could accurately describe Ebert as liking The Thing. He gave it 2 and half stars (his cut-off for a recommended movie is 3 stars). What's more, if you finish the sentence that you qouted you find him saying: "THE THING is a great barf-bag movie, all right, but is it any good? I found it disappointing…"
    There, I've been petty for the day. Don't hate me. I'm just an Ebert addict, so I pretty much am that annoying person who corrects you on everything ebert (yes, I have no life).

  3. Ashley says:

    Drew Barrymore is not in Poltergeist. Try Heather O'Rourke.

  4. Nathan says:

    Blade Runner and The Thing are two films that feature prominently in my home film collection.
    Being only 4 years old at the time of their release, I wasn't able to experience them, although I did go to see E.T. with my father, who was laid off work at the time and could never forget numerous viewings of Star Trek II, which I don't believe we saw in theaters, but it aired on television enough times for me to be horrified over and over again at Khan picking up those little critters with a pair of tongs and putting them in Chekhov's ear.
    But noting the coincidence of both Blade Runner and The Thing being 1982 films, I have remarked a number of times that 1982 must have been a good year for movies.
    My current views are that Blade Runner and The Thing are far and away the best films on your list above – both grossly underappreciated at the time of their release. Conan is questionable.

  5. JAM says:

    Blade Runner is a great movie, but was panned by critics and was not a blockbuster at all. The film's influence has grown over the past decades. I don't think 1982 was a better year than 2008, except for E.T being the exception to the rule.

  6. Clark says:

    Both "Blade Runner" and "The Thing" were box office failures. This summer has provided bona fide blockbusters. Sorry, no comparison.

  7. Brian Ridings says:

    Yeah, totally aside from the silliness of mistaking Drew Barrymore for Heather O'Rourke, didn't the title of the article I clicked (shown nowhere here) say something about superhero movies? Where does Blade Runner fit in there, or even Conan for that matter? I mean, at least Conan was a comic hero, sort of, though calling him a superhero, especially in light of the misquote you attribute to him seems odd. "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women," try. If you're going to put on the geek hat (you know, the one with the spinny propellor on top), you might want to mimic our fanatical devotion to detail, sort of a cornerstone. In the meantime, thanks for a completely pointless article. Oh, and for my part, I don't trust anybody who unreservedly loves that soulless boomer Ridley Scott's Arctic master-work.

  8. Anthony says:

    Don't forget that Tron and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior came out in 1982 as well. That easily tips the scale in favor if 1982.

  9. San Fernando Curt says:

    He's… what?… so PC radioactive you can't mention his best movie and the one that made him a superstar: Mel Gibson and "Road Warrior." It only KICKED OFF the magical summer of '82. Puh-LEEZE!

  10. Good Point on 2008 vs. 1982. Hate to say it but I am leaning towards 1982. The '08 releases don't even hold a candle, except for Dark Knight probably.
    And yes Blade Runner crashed at the Box Office when it was released in its first iteration; I still remember a kid friend of mine in '82 saying: "My mom took me to see it…we didn't get it." But talk about a movie that paid back big in the long term.
    Yeah in 2034, I am sure Hellboy 2, Wanted, and Hancock are still going to be generating revenue and appreciation from new audiences.

  11. I like the comparisons from 1982 to now. Makes total sense!

  12. toby says:

    1982 for the win!
    By a mile.

  13. JKO says:

    This is the first summer in a long time that Blockbusters have garnered Oscar Buzz. Iron-Man, Dark Knight, and Wall-E are classics for the ages. Crystal Skull sucked but will still be on TNT 50 years from now.
    That said, Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out in august of '82 and should absolutely be added to that great summer list!

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